Walking a mile in someone else’s (dusty) shoes

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Barbara Goeke, Executive Assistant Regional Business Management (left) , and Sarah Sma, Head of Supply Chain & Controlling (right) visit Mining Solutions customers. 

Rocks, dust and wildlife are not things Barbara Goeke, Executive Assistant Regional Business Management, and Sarah Sma, Head of Supply Chain & Controlling, normally encounter in a standard working day based out of BASF's head office in Melbourne's CBD.  Late last year however, the pair swapped their city office for an adventure in the bush when they visited two mining customers in rural New South Wales.

The trip began with a visit to one of BASF's Mining Solutions customers in regional New South Wales. The pair engaged in a safety briefing, learnt more about the equipment on site and had the chance to see BASF’s Mining Solutions products incorporated into the customer’s coal. Whilst Barbara knew that the conditions would be different from what she was used to, she was surprised by the reality of climbing so many stairs whilst wearing safety boots, a hard hat and a long sleeve hi vis shirt in 35-degree heat. “You are walking outside in the bush up those stairs, I tell you, you get fit,” she said.

Day two was spent with one of BASF's Senior Technical Sales Managers who took the pair for another customer visit, then to BASF’s Somersby site. “What was interesting about the Somersby site, is that different business units have different labs on site,” said Barbara. “One for example is totally enclosed where you must wear a kind of space suit because it has to be a very sterile environment. It was very interesting to see all these different laboratories”.

Reflecting on the experience, Barbara said she most enjoyed the opportunity to get out of the office and see firsthand what a ‘typical’ day looks like for her colleagues. “It is definitely an eye opener, of distance, of understanding. I recommend it to everyone. Thanks to my manager Phil McColl for suggesting this trip and letting us travel to broaden our horizon and learning more about the mining industry. It was fabulous, I loved it and look forward to the next experience,” Barbara concluded.